++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING
++ JERRY FENT WINS AGAIN
++ SPEAKER BENGE AND REP DANK IN A DUST UP REFEREED BY GOV HENRY
++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING
Our 12 noon luncheon will be held on Wednesday, January 27th at Italiano’s restaurant, 4801 North Lincoln in OKC. Our speaker this week will be Al Gerhart, with the Sooner Tea Party and also the point man for the newly formed Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. Mr. Gerhart will talk about the progress of this organization.
+ SUNDAY - OKC AREA - Next Sunday, January 31, will be the day
before session starts. For the 6th year in a row Dave Mehlhaff and State Representative Mike Reynolds, along with others, have sponsored a time of prayer before the start of session. This year it will begin at 2:00 p.m. and last for 2 hours until 4 p.m. Pastors and Christians are encouraged to come to the State Capitol and sit in the chair of your personal State Senator and/or Representative for the purpose of spending some time in prayer for these decision makers. Outside of a personal or national emergency, I believe this is the most important time for prayer in the year. Please come and pray for these lawmakers.
+ MONDAY - OKC AREA - Please pay close attention. For the past
several months several conservative groups have been spending time together to determine if we could work together on some key issues.
Our individual groups have come together under the banner of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. There are now 32 supporting groups and we have decided to have an indoor tea party on the first day of session. If at all possible, please come to the State Capitol on Monday, February 1st.
Please be at the first floor Rotunda, by 10:00 a.m. for a press conference to support H.B. 1054 by Representative Ritze in the House and Senator Brogdon in the Senate. The legislation is called the Healthcare Freedom of Choice Act.
After the press conference we will begin the indoor Tea Party at 12:00 noon. Leave your big signs at home, we aren’t going to assemble to tell them how mad we are, we are there to ask the lawmakers to consider the changes we want to see made during this year’s session.
You will be greeted as you come in and if you need help in finding the name and office of your State Representative or Senator and their offices, that help will be available. If you don’t personally know your elected officials, this is a good time to meet them. Express yourself in a confident manner, but always be respectful. Flyers will be available to explain the various bills the OCA is supporting. Take a moment to review those proposals and then visit with your elected officials about them.
What is exciting about this new form of tea party is that we are informing the members of 32 groups about this opportunity to appeal to lawmakers on key issues important to conservatives. Following is some brief information about some of the bills we support.
One bill requires that each new law has to pass a test to see if it performs one of the 18 enumerated powers granted to the Federal Government by section 8 article 1 of the Constitution. Another bill prevents the use of RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID) devices being implanted in our drivers licenses. That would prevent someone with a $150 scanner from walking by us and downloading our personal information for identity theft purposes. It would also prevent a person from being tracked through a “big brother” Fusion Center as they travel down the highway.
Another piece of legislation would protect Oklahoma’s State’s Rights by authorizing the impoundment of Federal tax payments if the Feds try to withhold Federal highway tax dollars from the state. Another bill prohibits the Federal government from enacting standards that would lead to a de facto national drivers license.
There is legislation to allow for the manufacturing of fire arms or ammunition in Oklahoma for sale in Oklahoma only which would be exempt from regulations by the federal government. Another piece of legislation would allow a person who had gotten into trouble as a youth to have their record wiped clean if they lived many years as a productive citizen without getting into more trouble.
And one more I want to mention, would be legislation to remove the sales tax on gold, silver or other precious metals being purchased as an investment or for monetary use. This is the first step of a process to have an Oklahoma currency ready to go should the Federal Reserve notes crash in value. After all, gold and silver are money if in coins, why should someone pay a tax for trading one form of money for another? Are you taxed if you give a teller a dollar for 2 rolls of pennies?
The Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance consists of the following groups:
Sooner Tea Party
AxXion for Liberty
Moore/Norman 912 Project
Oklahoma Chapters of the John Birch Society OK-SAFE Muskogee Tea Party Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ (the Black Robe Regiment) OKforTea.com Shawnee/Tecumseh 912 Project The Fair Tax groups Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A) Tulsa Town Hall Tulsa 912 project OKC 912 project REPO We Are Change ROPE (Restore Oklahoma Public Education) Oklahoma Tenth Amendment Center Remember The Bailout Lincoln County 912 Project Kill The Maps III group American Majority (Oklahoma chapter) Americans for Prosperity OSU Tea Party OBAR Norman Tea Party USA Patriots OACH The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC)
I need to be working out of town on this day, but this is such an important event that I will be re-arranging my work schedule to spend this day at the State Capitol. Please come and support these efforts if your schedule will permit.
++ JERRY FENT WINS AGAIN
This past Tuesday the State Supreme Court, in a 6 to 2 decision, gave semi-retired attorney Jerry Fent a huge victory when they ruled in his favor on a case he filed regarding tax increases being called fees.
Fent has earned a reputation of being the watchman on the wall on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma. He frequently files suit before the State Supreme Court when he sees the legislature and governor violate the Oklahoma State Constitution.
I believe it was 1991 that the citizens of Oklahoma passed State Question 640, which said the legislature can NOT pass a tax increase without a 75% super majority in both houses of the legislature or a vote of the people. However, SQ 640 allowed the legislature to continue to raise “fees” by a simple majority. The real problem is that no law on the books has defined the difference between a tax and a fee. Thus, for years now the legislature has raised TAXES on Oklahomans without a vote of the people by calling them fees.
This is such an important issue, that we at OCPAC have had as one of the 10 questions on our candidate survey a request for candidates to define the difference between a fee and a tax. Almost none of them can answer correctly . In the past there have been a couple of court cases before the “Supremes” that could have defined the difference but the court left it in the gray.
However, Mr. Fent took the issue head on and properly defined a fee as revenue collected from a certain activity and the revenues MUST go back into the support of the activity from which they were collected.
The difference in a tax would be revenues collected from a certain activity, but those revenues would be spent on something not related to the activity from which they were collected.
Several years ago Senator Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) tried to pass legislation defining the difference and last year Representative Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) also tried similar legislation, but the powers to be shut them down.
Last Thursday the Oklahoman ran a “cry baby” editorial titled: COSTLY VICTORY. The first sentence was: “Jerry Fent has struck again.” In my opinion, the Oklahoman and others who love big government and money from every possible means will be mourning this one for some time.
In his effort, Fent doesn’t make a value judgment about the programs these taxes called fees were supporting, he just insists government fund these programs with tax revenues, and not with misnamed fees.
Hopefully this wonderful piece of justice will spread by properly defining revenue streams, with taxes being taxes and fees being properly used to fund the activities from which they were collected and not diverted to other uses.
++ SPEAKER BENGE AND REP DANK IN A DUST UP REFEREED BY GOV HENRY
Over the past several years various Republican lawmakers have authored legislation to mitigate our rapidly rising property taxes. Legislative leadership has not allowed those pieces of legislation to proceed.
While reducing the pace of growth in property taxes was one of the priorities in the Republican controlled Senate for this year, Speaker Benge (R-Tulsa) has plopped himself down like a massive boulder in a door way to stop any such legislation in the House.
This past week Representative David Dank (R-OKC), frustrated with Benge’s opposition, called on Speaker Benge to either let the legislation proceed or step down from being the Speaker. Speaker Benge shot back with an accusation that Dank was practicing a horrible case of political grandstanding. Benge went on to suggest that now was not the time to reduce property taxes and that he shouldn’t have to step down every time a fellow colleague disagreed with him. Then “big brother” Governor Brad Henry, jumped into the fray by saying Speaker Benge was correct in opposing such legislation.
As a result, I contacted Speaker Benge’s office last week and invited him to come to our meeting this week to explain the House Republican agenda for this year’s session. However, more importantly I wanted him to explain his opposition to slowing down our rising property taxes.
The offer was with or without Representative Dank also being present.
His schedule did not allow him to attend. Therefore I will speculate about Speaker’s Benge’s opposition and he can correct me if needed.
Several years ago we amended our Constitution to not permit a property tax increase of more than 5% per year, this does not include increases due to the passage of school bonds. What has happened is that for the most part it has become an automatic 5% increase. Since that is compounded, it means everyone’s property taxes will DOUBLE every 14 years. Representative Dank wanted to slow that down to no more than 3% per year and freeze property taxes for seniors 65 and over. At this rate it would take 24 years for property taxes to double.
Property taxes are a function of county government. They are not a part of the state budget and if Dank’s bill were to pass the legislature it would only provide for the people to vote next November to see if the people of Oklahoma wanted to make that change. It all sounds very reasonable to me, so why is Speaker Benge opposed to the people of Oklahoma to us being able to vote on this issue?
This answer is going to tough on all you little Kool Aid drinking Republicans, but Speaker Benge, as I have pointed out many times in these e-mails, loves big government and central planning, HE IS NOT A CONSERVATIVE! With state government revenues down, he is under enormous pressure to put as much money into education as possible. He doesn’t want property tax increases slowed down as the majority of property taxes go to education (in my county, 85 percent goes to education). Rising property taxes takes pressure off of Him.
So here are some questions. If one man in the House of Representatives can act like a Dictator and determine what will pass and what will not pass, then why do we go through the motions of having elected representatives? The Speaker is chosen for that position by his fellow Republicans by secret ballot in a caucus meeting. With that kind of power would it not be proper for the citizens to ask their elected officials who they voted for to be Speaker? Should that not become a campaign issue for candidates to go on record as to what kind of person they will vote for in the future? Will they vote for someone who loves government and wants to see it expand or someone who wants it to be efficient and reduced to its proper functions and remove itself from its improper functions? By the time a Representative is considered for Speaker, that person has a legislative record which can be determined by looking at the Conservative Index in the Oklahoma Constitution Newspaper. Speaker Benge is nothing more than the product of the votes of our personal state representatives.
Do we care about this most important issue? Right now the Senate Republicans are divided over who is going to be the next President Pro Tem. The final two candidates vying for that job are Senator Harry Coates (Democrat, oh excuse me, Republican from Seminole) and Brain Bingman (R-Sapulpa). Coates is the most liberal Republican in the Senate and Bingman ranks 21st out of 26 Republican Senators. Coates has even threatened to make a deal with the Democrats to get elected to this position. In a past e-mail, I asked why a conservative such as Jim Reynolds or Cliff Aldridge shouldn’t be elected?
Bottom line, these are powerful positions and the citizens should have great concern as to who fills them. We can’t stop the ultra wealthy from putting hundreds of thousands into the House and Senate PACs and the campaigns of those they think they can control. But, we the people can take the time to determine which lawmakers are conservative and which are not and support only the conservatives. That is largely what OCPAC is trying to do. If you are not going to take the time yourself to do this work, then learn to trust OCPAC and the work we do. I would also suggest becoming a dues paying member to help us fund the true conservatives. We have an impressive record in determining the difference. To join see below.
I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday.